TIPS AND HACKS

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LIQUID GOLD

Chickpea Liquid

STOP!  Don't throw the liquid from your chickpeas away!  This liquid is known as "Aquafaba" and it is pure gold when cooking plant based or vegan.  There are dozens of recipes out there on the web using this super liquid, but here are a few ways I incorporate it into my recipes.

-Use it as an egg replacer in your baking and cooking.  2-3 TBSP is equal to one egg.

-Add about 1/8 tsp of Cream of Tarter to the liquid from one can of chickpeas and whip using a standmixer or hand mixer for about 3 min until you get stiff peaks.  Yep, Whipped "Uncream" - you can add a little confectioners sugar or maple syrup to sweeten it up as well.

-Use it to make homemade plant based mayo!  Check out the "Recipe" section for details.

SUPER CONDIMENT

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Apple Cider Vinegar is just one of those wonderful condiments that have superior properties - besides making food taste great - it contains the "mother" which is that stuff at the bottom of the bottle before you shake it ( yeast and bacteria)- which are natural probiotics, and may help boost your digestive system - Here some ideas for you to try:

-Feeling not quite yourself, runny nose and/or a sore throat?  Fix yourself a cup of herbal, ginger or lemon tea (or just hot water) and add 1-1 1/2 TBSP of ACV, a little bit of honey or other natural sweetener, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, and a bit of fresh or powdered ginger, mix and sip until gone.

-Use ACV to clean your coffee pot, and make your coffee taste BETTER! Pour about 1/4 cup ACV into the well of your coffee pot, add water and brew three or four times adding only clean water to the well.  Wash your pot, wipe down your machine and you are good to go!

-Use ACV and a little olive oil to dress your favorite salads.

NOOCH AKA THE SECRET WEAPON

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast (NOT Bakers Yeast or Brewers Yeast) is a plant based cooks secret weapon.  My personal preference is Braggs brand or Bob's Red Mill as both of these brands contain B12.  This is important for people eating a plant based diet as it is the only vitamin we need to supplement.  More on that in my Blog.

Nutritional yeast gives food that cheesy background.  Shake it on your salads and soups, add it to your favorite dishes - it just adds that umami your food craves!  Here are some ways I use it:

-Sprinkle it on my tofu scramble for that extra cheeesssy taste

-Combine it with whole, raw cashews and create plant based parmesan cheese for all your pasta dishes, soups and salads. See "Recipe" section for full recipe.

-Sprinkle it on salads, soups, sandwiches, you name it!

 

HINTS AND HACKS

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SPONGE BOMB

Tofu

Tofu - the mere word makes people cringe.  It sure made me make a yuck face...UNTIL...I learned how to properly prepare it.  Here are some helpful hints to make your Tofu experience a good one:

-Purchase Super Firm Tofu whenever possible.  You don't have to press it, just dab it dry with a paper towel or cloth and its ready to use.  Can't find Super Firm?  Purchase Extra Firm or Firm Tofu.  Remove it from the package and drain all the water.  Wrap the tofu block in a towel and lay it on a plate.  Place another plate on top and then place a heavy object on that plate.  Let it sit for 10 min or so to get as much of the water out as possible.  Then - use your tofu according to your recipe.

-Want to make a CRAZY GOOD tofu "chicken"?  Drain your tofu (as instructed above) and then place it in a ziploc bag and freeze for 4 hours or overnight.  Take the tofu out of freezer, thaw it, drain it again, and freeze a second time.  Take out, thaw, dry with a towel and rip into strips and pieces.  Marinade and/or bread and bake/fry for a crispy delicious alternative to that barnyard favorite.

-Silken Tofu blends beautifully in a smoothie and adds a thickness you will enjoy - as well as that "protein" everyone says we don't get - whatever.

-I use tofu in lasagna as the ricotta filling.  See "Recipe" section.

BEVERAGE DILEMMA

Nut Milks

There are a plethora of milk alternative beverages on the market today.  This is both awesome and, awful.  Understanding that milk does NOT do the body good, finding an alternative can be confusing.  I keep my alternative choice to a minimum utilizing Silk Soy Milk - this is what I cook with.  Silk Oat Milk for drinking, and when I can find it Silk Cashew, Pea and Almond Milk for my coffee (most like half n half I have found so far) and for cooking.  But, should you want to venture into making your own alternative beverage here is a start:

-Use 1 Cup of your favorite nut of choice (raw and unsalted) and place in a Nutribullet or High Speed Blender.  Cover the nuts with 1 1/2 - 2 Cups Water, add a little maple syrup and a pinch of salt (both optional).  Blend until smooth.  If you are unsure if you got all the "grit" out, pour the mixture through some cheese cloth to strain.  Drink or Use immediately, or place in a sealed container in the fridge.  Use your beverage within 5 days.

 

HOMEMADE VEG STOCK

No Food Waste

To eliminate waste, keep all your veggie scraps in a Ziploc bag and place in the freezer.  Once the bag is full, dump the contents into a Dutch oven or soup pot, cover with water, add some salt/pepper/spices you like, bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for an hour or 2.  Let the stock cool down, strain into glass jars or Tupperware containers and refrigerate until needed.   You have just made home made veggie broth/stock